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'Pak not involved in Burney's deportation'

Brother of Ansar Burney says that the Pakistan Govt has told them that it had no role in deportation of the rights activist from India to Dubai.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, Islamabad/karachi
UPDATED ON MAY 31, 2008 04:52 PM IST

Pakistan government has told leading rights activist Ansar Burney's family that it had no role in his deportation from India to Dubai, his brother said on Saturday.

"I spoke to the Foreign Office and the officials told me that Pakistan had no role in the deportation," Sarim Burney, the activist's brother, told PTI.

Ansar Burney, who played a key role in the release of Indian death row prisoner Kashmir Singh and has been campaigning for clemency for another death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh, was deported from New Delhi shortly after he arrived at Indira Gandhi Airport on Friday night.

Indian officials said he was deported because a "look-out" notice had been issued against him.

Sarim, who works with his elder brother in the Burney Welfare Trust, said the Trust would ask the Pakistan foreign office to take up the issue with the Indian authorities.

"Some people are saying that he was deported because he was taking up the issue of Pakistani prisoners being held in Indian jails. They are suggesting that there is some sort of understanding between the two countries that the issue of prisoners should be taken up only by the two governments and not by individuals like Ansar Burney," Sarim said.

He said the people of India should question their government on Burney's deportation, especially as he had done a lot for the cause of Indian prisoners in Pakistan.

Sarim said Burney had flown this morning from Dubai to London, where he would decide his next course of action.

Sarim claimed that Indian authorities at the Attari and Munabao borders had detained around 200 or more Pakistanis on charges of travelling on tampered visas.

"The embassy has confirmed 80 to us but we have got 100 applications from affected families. Ansar had gone there to not only attend a seminar on human rights but also speak to the Indian authorities on the detention of these innocent Pakistani prisoners," he said.

Burney came under criticism in Pakistan for his humanitarian work to secure the release of Indian prisoners including the high profile Kashmir Singh case.

He had visited India in April and met Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon. He had also met Sarabjit's family in Amritsar and filed a fresh petition seeking clemency for him on the basis of evidence provided by the family.

President Pervez Musharraf approved in February a mercy petition filed on behalf of Kashmir Singh, who spent 35 years on death row in Pakistani jails, by the human rights ministry, which was then headed by Burney.

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